Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD announced their joint plan to develop design standards for Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) in Ireland.
The Residential Construction Cost Study, which was published by Minister O’Brien in May of this year, recommends the development of a standardised specification for purpose built student accommodation.
The first step will be to conduct a study to examine international best practise and flexibility of design to establish appropriate standards in the delivery of affordable accommodation.
The project will be led by a cross-departmental project group chaired by DFHERIS with sectoral and technical support from DHLGH, DFHERIS and the Higher Education Authority (HEA). This work will be informed by a stakeholder engagement process, which will include student representatives.
Speaking about the plan, Minister Harris said, “for the first time in history, the State is investing in building student accommodation, a plan which is an important part of our Housing for All strategy. Already, we have helped to fund the construction of 1,100 beds, with many more on the way.”
“As part of the new Student Accommodation Strategy, it is important we examine the best models of delivery for student accommodation. This project will examine how best we can increase supply of accommodation but also improve affordability too. Minister O’Brien and I, along with our officials, are committed to increasing the supply of student accommodation. This work is vital to that.”
Minister O’Brien said, “Housing for All commits to the development of Purpose Built Student Accommodation in Ireland as part of the broader strategy towards overall diversification and, particularly in this case, the increased availability and affordability of rental stock. Recently, €62 million in funding was allocated to delivering over 1,000 student accommodation beds, and work is under way to plan student accommodation across the higher education sector.”
“The Residential Construction Cost Study identified significant approach differences between Ireland and Europe with respect to PBSA. Standardised design and specification are more prominent in Europe. This new PBSA study will interrogate how increased standardisation of design and specification can maximise delivery and affordability in Ireland. As such, it is a key component of Government’s broader strategy to deliver across all tenures and housing types under Housing for All.”
The project will commence immediately with the appointment of a cross-departmental project group chaired by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research Innovation and Science followed by a request for tender for an expert consultant to undertake the study.